Wednesday, August 18, 2010

BYU Leaves the Mountian West, Goes Independent (Maybe)

It's been a wild summer for college sports.  As of right now, in 2011 the Pac 10 will have 12 members, the Big 12 will have 10 members, and the Big Ten will have 12 members.  Utah, BYU's long-time conference rival, got a golden ticket to join the Pac 10 (along with my own Colorado Buffalos), leaving BYU as pretty much the biggest football program left out of the top conferences in college football.  Most BYU fans bemoaned the situation but felt there was nothing to be done.  Or is there?  From the Salt Lake Tribune:
Brigham Young University will leave the Mountain West Conference, go independent in football and rejoin the Western Athletic Conference in all non-football sports beginning in the fall of 2011, The Salt Lake Tribune confirmed Wednesday morning.
According to a source in the WAC office, BYU will seek final approval for the moves from its owner, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, either today or Thursday. Pending approval, a press conference is planned for early next week. But because of media reports that broke late Tuesday night, that timetable may change.
BYU officials have apparently decided that the best business model for BYU to follow is that of another large, religious university with a prestigious football program - Notre Dame.  And really it makes sense to leave the Mountain West - where in terms of tradition, facilities, and fan base BYU was clearly the king of the midgets.  The Pac 10 allegedly picked Utah with is smaller national following over BYU because of BYU's religious affiliation and the only other major conference that made any sense for BYU, the Big 12, might only be around for until Texas, Texas A&M, and Oklahoma feel like they can't suck any more money out of the other 7 schools.

So BYU joins Army, Navy, and Notre Dame as the only conference-less teams in top-level college football.  It may be a bit of reach but here's to hoping they score big.  You may now return to your regularly scheduled programming.

Thanks to Dr. Saturday for the heads-up.


  1. I hope this means BYU can beef up their schedule not being locked into playing the MWC teams every year. Some are great to play but many aren't that hot so being locked in every year makes things difficult.

  2. I don't like the move. Well, I like half of it. I think it's a great move to go independent in football. That's a no-brainer and I've wondered why they didn't do it long ago (I'm assuming financial reasons since if they're part of a conference, they get money from other schools that go to bowl games. I'm not sure what happens when they're independent). But I don't understand the move to the WAC in all other sports. Boise State coming to the MWC was a huge asset to the MWC, and going back to the WAC for BYU is like a downgrade IMO.

    I would have preferred a move to independence in football but remaining in the MWC for all other sports. But here's hoping it works out.

  3. BYU football goes independent while all other Y teams get kicked back down to the WAC - I guess it shows you where the school's priorities are, should it happen.
    If I were BYU king for one day I would seriously consider downsizing the football program and focus on making BYU an academic and research powerhouse, including building a medical hospital and a department of medicine, yet I know that 95% of mormons would disagree with me.
    Oh well, just one man's opinion, that's all.

  4. Dave C.,

    In most sports outside of football the WAC is as good of a conference as the MWC - especially with the departure of Utah. Replacing Utah with Boise State is okay in football but Boise State has no other athletic programs to speak of. In fact I think that the only reason BYU hasn't bolted from the MWC already is that with the WAC headed for extinction BYU's other sports don't really have many options.

  5. As far as turning BYU into a research university, I don't think it will ever happen. As one of my favorite professors at BYU, Dr. Jeffrey Humphreys, used to say, at most universities the student's are the clients so the university is designed to fit the students. At BYU the Church is the client, so the university is designed to fit the Church. The Church isn't really interested in bringing in prestigious graduate programs in non-revenue ares (the business and law programs bring in a lot of money in tuition and are relatively cheap to run). The Church wants to equip and train future church leaders during a time of their lives when roughly half of them will get married and all of them will choose the tone of their careers. Adding strong research programs and the graduate programs that go with them doesn't really help that goal.


To add a link to text:
<a href="URL">Text</a>